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Institutet för Framtidsstudier - Institute for Futures Studies Arbetsrapport, Institutet för Framtidsstudier - Institute for Futures Studies

No 2005:9:
Continued Work or Retirement? Preferred Exit-age in Western European countries?

Ingrid Esser

Abstract: The combination of greying populations, decreasing fertility rates and a marked trend in falling retirement age is profoundly challenging the sharing of resources and supporting responsibilities between generations in the developed world. Previous studies on earlier exit-trends have focused mainly on supply-side incentives and generally conclude that people will exit given available retirement options. Substantial cross-national variations in exit-ages however remain unexplained. This suggests that also normative factors such as attitudes to work and retirement might be of importance. Through multi-level analyses, this study evaluates how welfare regime generosity, as well as production regime coordination explains cross-national patterns of retirement preferences across twelve Western European countries. Analysis firstly shows how both men and women on average prefer to retire at 58 years, meaning on average approximately 7 or 5.5 years before statutory retirement age in the case of men and women respectively. Contrary to what is expected from previous research on supply-side factors, preferences for relatively later retirement is found within more generous welfare regimens and also within more extensively coordinated production regimes. For women, however, institutional effects do not remain once substantial cross-national differences in women's statutory retirement ages are taken into account.

Keywords: Continued Work; Retirement; (follow links to similar papers)

JEL-Codes: J26; (follow links to similar papers)

50 pages, June 2005

ISSN 1652-120X ISBN 91-89655-67-2

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